Alison Kelly: Drawing to a close

Aboriginal Art Directory | 08.12.10

In the decade since Alison Kelly opened her Aboriginal art gallery, she has seen a massive increase in the general population’s appreciation and understanding of indigenous art.
“So much of the content of the paintings is not for us to know about because it’s to do with Aboriginal traditions and their ceremonial myths and legends,” Kelly says. “But to just know a little bit about the culture and where the paintings might come from and how they relate to these stories, it enthrals people. Then people just love it. I suppose that’s what happened to me.”

Kelly’s love affair started 15 years ago when, having completed an art history degree as a mature-age student, she started working in an indigenous art gallery in the city. Spurred on by her husband Tony, Kelly opened her own gallery in High Street, Armadale before moving it to its current location in Prahran. But all good things must come to an end and Kelly is closing her gallery next week after 10 years at the helm.

Kelly explains the decision was due to a combination of reasons, including the impact of the global financial crisis on the art market. She also wants to spend more time with her two US-based daughters, one of whom is having a baby in the new year.

It was a tough decision as Kelly has clearly loved her time at the gallery, especially the connections she has made with other art collectors, artists and the non-profit Aboriginal-owned art centres where she sources artworks for the gallery. “It’s a lovely relationship to work with an artist and see them progress to the point where their work can stand up against any other contemporary work,” she says.


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